What matters to you and your lead team? What would those looking in from the outside say is important to you? Whether written in stone, painted on a wall, posted on a website, or nowhere at all, every church and organization has a set of values. These values create the culture and quickly define who you are as a congregation or organization.
While Values should be specific to each team, consider what may be 5 of the Most Valuable Values…
1) Health. Someone has said, “We attract what we are.” If this is true, then we must be intentional about being and leading spiritually deep, emotionally safe, mentally challenging and physically healthy teams. We do this by creating environments and experiences where relationships thrive, by providing excellent training, resources, and more. We must be intentional about reaching out and ministering to unhealthy people. However, connecting them to an unhealthy culture won’t serve anyone and will only further draw those attracted to self-serving drama.
2) Vision. This one is often overlooked. Simply put, you have to value your vision. Ask yourself and your team clarifying questions… “Where is this going?” “What is the goal?” “How are we getting there?” “How are we measuring our effectiveness?” You won’t just get there because you have a vision and are busy meeting, planning or pulling off event after “We’ve got to top last year!” event. Allow some trusted leaders within and without to hold you accountable for the specific vision you have been given.
3) Community. More specifically, the community outside your church. Why not value the congregation or the organization within? Let’s face it, most already do. As a matter of fact, most small to medium-sized congregations all but over-value themselves to the exclusion of the community. Yes, by all means, cultivate community within through a holistic discipleship strategy including assimilation, life groups, fellowship and worship experiences for your regular members. However, we must resolutely resist the tendency to become ingrown. Ask constantly, “How are we connecting to the people in our community?” “How are we serving them and serving with them?” Plan, promote and serve accordingly.
4) Love. A leadership and congregation can be many things, and so can the people that call it their church home. However, if there isn’t a culture where the love of God is more than felt, but lived out intentionally, then it simply isn’t the real thing. How are you cultivating a culture of love (think grace, mercy, patience, encouragement, generosity, etc.)? Would outsiders say they “felt the love” at a recent service or event?
The Apostle Paul still challenges our ministry motives, “If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)
5) Truth. Then there are those churches where the theme song is, “All you need is love.” While love is truly the greatest, truth matters. The truth of the matter is that we aren’t really loving people at all if we are ignoring the fundamental truths and values of the Word of God. Truth gives depth to and defines true love. Things like personal holiness and integrity still matter. Standing for Marriage and family still matters (one man, one woman, for life). The rights of the unborn still matter. Racial equality still matters. We ignore these fundamental truths and allow their continued erosion at our peril.
Far from being confining, truth is liberating. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV)
If we were to summarize any set of values in a word, that word may well be relationship. Never forget that it was and is a personal relationship between God and His creation that put all of this in motion and is made possible through Jesus Christ. How we relate with others is a direct reflection on our relationship with Him and the validity of this thing we call the Church. Never let the growth of healthy personal relationships (start with your spouse and kids) get lost in the pursuit of any vision. In other words, never sacrifice values on the altar of vision.
What values would you add? Share your suggestions in the Reply section below!
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